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Workers' Compensation


California law requires employers to carry workers' compensation insurance. Workers' compensation provides injured workers with medical care, disability benefits, vocational retraining, and death benefits; covered employees generally cannot sue their employer for job-related injuries. Here are some of the workers' compensation resources available at the Sacramento County Public Law Library.

SELF HELP

These are "plain English" explanations of the law, with basic procedures clearly described and many good examples. 

Information for employees:

California Workers' Comp: How to Take Charge When You're Injured on the Job  KFC 592 .Z9B35  (Self-Help) 
This Nolo Press self-help guide is intended to help workers pursue their own claims or assist their attorneys. It includes in-depth instructions, charts, and discussions of key cases.  
Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Workers' Compensation in California: A Guidebook for Injured Workers KFC 592 .W67. (Self-Help) 
This guidebook and related fact sheets and samples explain the workers' comp system and the steps injured workers should take.    
Electronic Access: via the Internet at http://www.dir.ca.gov/InjuredWorkerGuidebook/InjuredWorkerGuidebook.pdf.  

Your Rights in the Workplace KF 3455. Z9 R47 (Self-Help)    
This Nolo Press book discusses several employment topics. Chapter 12 discusses workers' compensation; other chapters cover issues such as wages and hours, privacy, discrimination, unemployment, and more. Not California-specific.
Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

Information for employers:

The California Employer KFC 556 .A39L58  
Chapter 3 covers workers' compensation in some depth from the employer's perspective. This book is updated annually and includes a CD-ROM.  

The Employer's Legal Handbook KF 3455 .Z9S74  (Self-Help)
Chapter 7 on "Health and Safety" includes a section on workers' compensation laws.   Not California-specific.
Electronic Access: From any computer (library or home) via the Legal Information Reference Center. Instructions are available on our website at http://www.saclaw.org/pages/nolo-ebooks.aspx.

LEGAL ENCYCLOPEDIAS and LAW SUMMARIES   

These provide extensive background and discussion of California's workers' compensation law, including references to applicable statutes and cases. Attorneys and people representing themselves may find these resources useful. 

California Jurisprudence (CalJur 3d)  KFC 80 .C35 (Ready Reference)
Vol. 65 & 65A, Work Injury Compensation.  
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

Witkin Summary of California Law  KFC 80 .W57  (Ready Reference)
Vol. 2, Workers' Compensation.  
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using WestlawNext.

IN DEPTH RESEARCH

These books are written for the practicing attorney. They often contain practical information about forms and procedures.  Refer to these materials when the self-help books do not address your specific issues or concerns. All of the listed books can be found in the California Collection. Guides available at the law library include:

California Workers' Compensation Practice KFC 592 .S94
This CEB (Continuing Education of the Bar) practice guide provides comprehensive coverage and a good discussion of the appeals and rating processes.  
Electronic Access:  On the Law Library's computers, using OnLaw.

St. Clair's California Workers' Compensation Law and Practice KFC 592 .B78 
Hanna's California Law of Employee Injuries and Worker's Compensation

KFC 592 .H33 
Both are considered leading authorities and frequently cited in cases. These books present up-to-date, in-depth information and analysis.

The Lawyer's Guide to the AMA Guides and California Worker's Compensation
KFC 592 .L39
Permanent disability is rated using the "objective" criteria used by the American Medical Association's Guides to the Evaluation of Permanent Impairment (AMA Guides), Fifth Edition. This book aims to familiarize the workers' comp community with the use of these guides.

FORMS

Division of Workers' Compensation
www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/forms.html  
Official forms are listed by subject; most can be filled out online then printed. Guides for filling out many of the forms are available at www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/iwguides.html (English) and www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/iwguides_Spanish.html  (Spanish). 

DECISIONS, STATUTES, AND REGULATIONS

General reference:

California Workers' Compensation Claims and Benefits KFC 592 .O27 
This in-depth reference discusses cases, statutes and regulations arranged by topic; good for finding legal precedent on the particular issues in your case.  

Decisions:

Workers' comp cases are heard by either a judge or a referee at the Workers' Compensation Appeals Board (WCAB). The three-step appeals process begins with a Petition for Reconsideration to the WCAB in San Francisco. A WCAB panel decision is appealed to the California Court of Appeal via "writ of review;" the court grants or denies review. The appeals court's decision may be appealed to the California Supreme Court. 

Court of Appeal and Supreme Court opinions are published in the standard California reporters. The Dept. of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation web site offers reports of decisions and petitions (www.dir.ca.gov/wcab/wcab_dars.htm). In addition, two specialized reporters collect workers' comp decisions:

California Compensation Cases (CCC) KFC 592 .C3 (Compact)
This annual reporter (with monthly supplements) provides "en banc and significant panel decisions" of the WCAB, relevant court opinions, and a digest of WCAB decisions denied judicial review. The annual volumes include a cumulative subject index to aid researchers. The library collects Vol. 1 (1936) to present.

California Worker's Compensation Reporter (CWCR) KFC 592 .C2 (Compact)
This monthly bulletin reports "key developments in workers' compensation law," including decisions.  Some content overlaps with California Compensation Cases. The library collects Vol. 1 (1973) to present.  

Statutes, Regulations, Manuals, Schedules:

The Workers' Compensation Laws of California KFC 592 .A3      
This single-volume compilation includes applicable Labor Code sections, plus other relevant California statutes, California Code of Regulations sections, and United States code sections, and includes a detailed index. The law library also has both Deering's Cal. Codes Annotated andWest's Annotated Cal. Codes, as well as Barclays Official California Code of Regulations

Workers' Compensation Appeals Board Policy and Procedural Manual, available on the Web at tinyurl.com/2f56nz.

Schedule for Rating Permanent Disabilities under Provisions of the Labor Code of the State of California   
The current (2005) version and prior versions are available on the Department of Industrial Relations web site. 

Official California Workers' Compensation Medical Fee ScheduleCalifornia Code of Regulations, Title 8, Section 9879.10 et seq. 
The Official Medical Fee Schedule (OMFS) is used for payment of medical services in worker's comp cases. It is included in Title 8 of the California Code of Regulations.   Also available on the Department of Industrial Relations website: http://www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwcpropregs/omfsemerregs2.htm.

WEB SITES

California:

The Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Workers' Compensation web site (www.dir.ca.gov/dwc/dwc_home_page.htm) has a wealth of information for injured workers, employers, and medical providers as well as attorneys and claims adjusters, including:

Federal:

Federal employees are covered by the Federal Employees' Compensation Act (5 USC §§ 8101–8193).  The Office of Workers' Compensation Programs (U.S. Department of Labor) provides information, forms, and links to laws, regulations, and the decisions of the Employees' Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB) at www.dol.gov/ecab/welcome.html.   

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

DWC Information and Assistance Unit  916-928-3158 (recorded info line: 800-736-7401)
Injured workers can contact the Information & Assistance (I&A) Unit of their local Division of Workers' Compensation office. In addition, injured workers can attend a monthly workshop to learn about their rights and workers' comp procedures. 

IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THIS GUIDE, OR IF YOU NEED HELP FINDING OR USING THE MATERIALS LISTED, DON'T HESITATE TO ASK A REFERENCE LIBRARIAN.     

updated 5/13 kf